We made it! We made it! Around 10:00 tonight we pulled into the driveway of our new home. We were all so excited to go in and look around for the first time. Phil drove our stuff out last week, but the kids and I had only seen pictures online. We decided to rent a townhouse for awhile, just so we can get used to the area. As we drove across the plains of South Dakota today, it felt strange to leave my "homesteading" life behind me and move onto townhouse living on the prairie.
As we drove along the Interstate, I was very aware that we would be 50 miles from The Ingalls' Homestead in DeSmet, SD. I dared not ask the family to stop and indulge me after a very long 3-day drive. But Phil surprised me and pulled off the Interstate and onto the highway that led north to DeSmet. I buried my face into my hands and cried for a bit, then called my mom and left her a most pathetic message. This was truly one of the best days of my life.
We turned off the highway onto the road that led up to the homestead and saw that it was a dirt road mostly covered with patches of snow. As we started up the little hill, our car got stuck in a snow drift right there in front of the homestead. We tried all sorts of things, but nothing worked. I found a phone number and ended up getting 6 tow truck companies' phone numbers, but they were all too far out of the area. Our insurance company couldn't help us because we were on a dirt road. So Phil did what any other awesome husband would do. He took off down the highway in search for help. The kids and I stayed in the car to keep warm, but I LOVED this! I was stranded in the snow in front of the Ingalls' Homestead. It was like a dream come true. I mean, who can say this? I've never been stranded in the snow, but what better place than the setting of The Long Winter? I got to look out at Laura's beautiful snow-covered prairie for over an hour. I stared in amazement at the 5 cottonwood trees that Pa planted, one for each member of the family. Our neighbors in Spokane gave us their DVD player for the car and I pulled it out for the girls to watch episodes of Little House on the Prairie. I could hear the Little House theme song playing in the backseat as I sat there and watched this beautiful scene unfold. Oh bliss!
Phil finally came back with a man in a big truck and a long chain. I got out of the car and said, "I'm so, so sorry. I just really love Laura Ingalls, and my husband really loves me." By then he was under our car trying to hook the chain on and I heard him say, "Oh the things we do for love."
We finally got to drive through the town of DeSmet and I told my girls to stop their movie and look out the window. I wanted to show them Ma and Pa's house in town. They just said, "We know, Mom. We're watching it on T.V." I was horrified!
I was able to find several important landmarks -- the house in town, the site of Pa's building in town and the Surveyor's house -- all without a map! This is why I love Laura Ingalls' books. They're so descriptive. I saw the whole town laid out in my mind and could zip around like I lived there.
On a side note, did you know that Carrie Ingalls, Laura's sister, was married to the man who named Mt. Rushmore? I was shocked! I wish I would have known this when we were up there yesterday.
All in all, we had a wonderful day. Especially me! We love our new house and we're so excited to explore the area.